The Oshawa Public Schools: 1923 – 1967

In 1923 Centre Street (E.A. Lovell) was constructed.  The total cost was just under $220, 000. These together with the new wing on the high school made up the total of four schools.  In 1930, two rooms were added to Cedardale School.  Cedardale was annexed by Oshawa in 1923.  Some of the school sections, there, did not enter the corporation at the time of annexation.  Oshawa taught the pupils of those sections free of charge for four years.  However in 1930, the school board decided that this would have to be discontinued.

Going back to the year 1910, after Mr. L.C. Smith and the secondary students left Centre Street School; Miss Mary (Maimie) Luke then took over as principal in the school which was now for primary students.  Miss Luke was a member of the Luke family who were among the early settlers here.  She was followed by Miss Elise Matheorn.

Miss E. Holmes who is residing in Oshawa at present, was the next principal in Centre Street School. [She was there] from 1919 – 1924.  It was during this period that the present E.A. Lovell School was built.  It took about two years to erect this structure and the children with their teachers went to various places for classes.  Simcoe Street United Church Sunday School took care of some of them.  One room was finished in Ritson School and Miss E. Holmes with Grade VIII pupils were there for the latter part of the time.  Mrs. (Currie) Barton was in a portable in Albert Street and Miss A. Found was in a hall on Court Street.  Some of the children attended King Street School.

Mr. Graham was the next principal; the first one in the new school, for one year only, 1924 – 1925.

Mr. A.W. Jacklin took over as principal in 1925 and remained there until his death in 1953.  He was about to sign a contract for the year 1953 – 1954 but passed away suddenly on July 11th, 1953.  Mr. Jacklin had the school well organized and was a good disciplinarian.

There was a large gong on the west wall outside of the building for calling school.  A loud speaker was also on the same wall outside and gramophone records were played to induce orderly marching.  A piano in the downstairs hall was tried at first but it was not loud enough to be heard above the shuffling feet.  The sound system has since been removed.

During WWII, Albert Street School was closed for about two years, owing to shortage of fuel and electricity.  The pupils were then sent to King Street, Centre Street and South Simcoe Schools.

In 1927, Canada’s Jubilee year, the principals of the Oshawa public schools were as follows:

                        A.W. Jacklin B.A. – Centre St. School

                        Miss Jean Garrow – North Simcoe School

                        Miss Etta Holmes – King Street School

                        Miss Helen Keddie – Mary Street School

                        Miss Leah C. Smith – Cedardale School

                        Miss G. Annand – South Simcoe Street School

                        Mr. Harvey Knight – Ritson Rd. School

                        Miss Tillie Patton – Albert Street School

Judging from the above list, the Board of Education must have had many second thoughts about hiring women for principals. Of the above names mentioned, only one person is living today, Miss Etta Holmes[1] who is residing in the city. Mr. A.E. O’Neill was principal of the O.C.V.I. at that time. He is now retired and is also living in Oshawa[2].

During World War II, Albert Street School was closed for about two years owing to the shortage of fuel and electricity. The pupils were sent to King Street, South Simcoe and Centre Street Schools.

In the years that followed other branches of study have been added to the curriculum; music in the schools and Kindergarten is being discussed in later chapters.


[1] Miss Holmes has most certainly passed away since this document was originally written in 1967.  However, we are unsure of the date of her death.

[2] Ibid.

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